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(2.5D Animation) Two and a half Dimensional Animation

Some of you might have come across the term 2.5D but what is 2.5D?

“2.5D(“two-and-a-half-dimensional”), 3/4 perspective and pseudo-3D are terms, mainly in the video gameindustry, used to describe either 2D graphical projections and similar techniques used to cause a series of images (or scenes) to simulate the appearance of being three-dimensional (3D) when in fact they are not, or gameplay in an otherwise three-dimensional video game that is restricted to a two-dimensional plane.” – Wikipedia

Well first, lets define 2D and 3D before we go any further. 2D takes place in two dimensional space which is drawn against a flat background mostly with line art. Depth is implied by placement of objects in relation to eachother and with loosly using shadows and highlights. In games and animations the objects can only move on x and y axis.
In 3D the objects can really move in all three axis.

Trine 2 Deadly Dustland Scorpion2

Now we come to 2.5D animation which is a two dimensional animation inside three dimensional space. It can be moving a 2d object in 3d space, or it can involve a clever use of perspective and shadows to make 2D appear as 3D. This doesn’t only involve shapes that look like paper cutouts, but also 2d objects in 3D space that move like 3D objects. Like a 2D ball turning in a fluid way that appers to be three dimensional. This creats a three dimensional environment around two dimensional object.
Adding shadows to a 2D object can also create a 2.5 animations. But not giving the figure it self a shading, but rather a 3D shadow od 2D object. Imagine a 2D object on a white background it is just a flat object with no 3D elements what so ever. If we cast a shadow on elements around that element or on the background than we creat a sort of an illusion of 3D object making it a 2.5 D. The shadow makes a 2d object strethc in to three dimensional space. Playing with shadows and perspecitve is the easiest way to achieve this effect.

I’ve seen people create 2.5D effects in both 2D and 3D programs; in programs such as Flash, you can use the tools to create false perspective, and then animate tween that perspective changing for a 2.5D effect. You can also create shadows using copies of objects greyed out and arranged properly, with perspective tools appropriately stretching the shape. In 3D programs, you can map 2D objects onto transparent polygons and then animate and position them, with lighting to add shadows.

Here is a great example of a 2.5 D animation.

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